Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unwillingly, Leo returned Susan to us

Sweet Sue exiled herself to Bklyn for ten days with good motive: catch up with handsome Leo, now speaking like crazy, even if no one can understand him yet, to his frustration, except Grandma Noo, so loves her to pieces.

She also had Thanksgiving with the Noonan bunch, including the Garcias, the Rothrocks, the Hoddinotts and the Ryans... Andreozzis were in Florida. She wasn't there to celebrate Thanksgiving for many years, so she was very happy... to be there, not to count the years that have gone under the bridge since last time.

Jessica was the hostess and provided great help to Joy's cooking in her magnificent kitchen: the turkey was fabulous, Susan says. Jack provided an apple-crumble pie I would have loved not to miss.

They all had a good time, sauf the turkey, of course: do you know why the bird turkey is named after the country saddling Europe and Asia? (here is the story)

Susan arrived back this morning, while Daniel reports Leo didn't have the best of nights, already missing Grandma's full and dedicated attention... to him, King Leo.

Now, survivors Willy, Sadie and Paco will enjoy again Susan's charming and loving manners and company... and walks, and food, and singing, and creativity and authoritative knowledge and, all those wonderful things she so gallantly wears.

She brought presents to the City and now brought us some other gifts. She also brought me a couple of heavy books (no room in the suitcase, she complained... on her way over she took a 5 kg of extra virgen olive oil for little Daniel, but a couple of paperbacks are too heavy...moms!).

Let me not be unpolite and thank her effort publicly appreciating the happiness she brought me.

The heavy books now in my Library are:

From the book:
"In the late afternoon of 9 August 2006, the unit received word that the operation into el-Khiam and Marjayoun was on. We would be commencing movement at six p.m. The company was positioned on a field next to an avocado grove, on lands belonging to a border kibbutz. We had been waiting there for three days. Twice, the entry into Lebanon had been postponed. We’d spent the days checking our equipment, eating sandwiches and smoking cigarettes. Waiting. The routine of tense expectation and prolonged inactivity was one you got used to."
Michael J. Totten praised the book here; previously, he had published a lengthy interview with the author here.

Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism, de John Calvert (2010).

About his book, the author says:
"My book is a biography of Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), the influential Egyptian ideologue of Islamic revolution. No other Islamist thinker, with the possible exception of the South Asian Abu l-A‘la Mawdudi (1903-1979), exerted a comparable influence on Islamic activism, both in his own day and in the generations that followed.
My book traces the development of Qutb’s worldview from his village childhood up to his execution at the hands of Egypt’s ‘Abd al-Nasser regime. I pay attention to the gamut of influences—cultural, political, social and economic—that shaped his thoughts on the proper role of Islam in the state and society, and in the end propelled him in the direction of radicalism. The book attempts to understand the evolution of Qutb’s ideology in the myriad details of his life. It is a study of an individual and of his times; of objective circumstance and subjective experience, and of how each influenced the other.
But the book also has a critical purpose. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many scholars and journalists looked to Sayyid Qutb as a progenitor of Bin Laden’s and Ayman al-Zawahiri’s global jihad. Such an equation is not entirely correct. Although, like al-Qaeda, Qutb preached a total, uncompromising struggle of Islam against its conceptual opposite, Western secular civilization, he was not an advocate of indiscriminate violence.
Qutb would have condemned the violent actions perpetrated by the Egyptian jihadis of the 1970s and 1980s and by al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates today. He would not have understood al-Qaeda’s desire to attack a Western power, such as the United States. In Qutb’s mind, the jihad targeting “iniquitous” Muslim regimes was always paramount.
Ultimately, I want readers to understand objectively how and why this important Islamist thinker repackaged the rich resources of the Islamic heritage for purposes linked to social and political transformation. I aim to provide readers with a highly contextualized study that will allow them better to comprehend contemporary Islamist movements."

Saving Israel. How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End, de Daniel Gordis (2009), Senior Vice President of the Shalem Center, where he is also a senior fellow.

Winner of the 2009 National Jewish Book Award.
"In Saving Israel, Daniel Gordis offers a new defense of the Jewish state, asking first whyIsrael is necessary, and then discussing what Israel has to do in order to survive its enemies.
Gordis begins with a novel discussion of Israel’s purpose, reflecting on the overlooked ways in which Israel has changed the existential condition of Jews everywhere. In the process, he grapples with controversial questions about Israel, Israeli Arabs, Muslims, and the International community that many Israelis and American Jews are loath to confront.
His suggestions for what Israel must do to survive, and more importantly, for how it must think if it is to have a future, are sure to arouse debate and even controversy. For Gordis’s book is a passionate reminder of Israel’s purpose, a celebration of what Israel has already accomplished, a renewal of faith in the cause, and a bold guide for carrying on the struggle. Saving Israel is a full-throated call to arms. Never has the case for defending the existence of Israel been made with such confidence, passion, and clarity."

Michael J. Totten praises the author and the book and publishes a lengthy interview with the author here. About the author and the book he says (you should read the whole interview, is woorth it):
"Michael Young, opinion page editor at Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper and contributing editor at Reason magazine in the US, is one of the finest analysts of the modern Middle East working in English. He was born in Washington D.C. to a Lebanese mother and American father, and his mother took him to Beirut when he was still a child after his father died. He has lived there for most of his life ever since, even when the country came apart at the seams during the civil war between 1975 and 1990.
He has seen much more of the place than I have, of course, and he understands it and can explain it better than just about anyone. He also understands the region in general better than most because Lebanon is by far the best place to observe and study the Middle East. It’s the most liberal and open of the Arabic-speaking countries, and all the major players have interests and roles there. The Syrians are there, the Iranians are there, and the Saudis are there. Sometimes even the Israelis are there. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, France administered it for decades after acquiring it from the Ottoman Empire, and American troops have been sent there as peacekeepers twice.
Michael has wanted to write a book about his country for years, and he finally did it when the chronology of events after 2005 took on the shape of a story with a beginning, middle, and end. His book is called The Ghosts of Martyrs Square, and he and I recently discussed it and many of the issues it raises over the phone"
Además, el otro día, un compañero de batallas perdidas, Jose Luis, me regalo otro libro magnífico:

Escolios a un texto implícito, de Nicolás Gómez Dávila (1913-1994), recientemente publicado por Atalanta.

Cuando hace unas semanas me lo prometió en Laguna, con ocasión del pavo, estaba entusiasmado con el libro.

Tiene la indudable ventaja de la brevedad que ofrecen los aforismos, brevetes y escolios que componen el libro.

Y haya tantos que seguro que encuentro montones que me harán disfrutar.

No sé si hay soflamas, pero los críticos del libro que he leído citan a menudo el pensamiento 'contracorriente' del autor. Me encantará.
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